Nosebleed, anyone? U.S. have hit the second most overbought level in history, according to Yahoo Finance contributor Dana Lyons, partner at J. Lyons Fund Management.
Lyons looked at the current level of the S&P Composite measured against its long-term monthly trend since records were available back to 1871.
“Suffice it to say, the stock market is extended. Can it stay extended? The past few years prove that it can,” Lyons said in a Tumblr column picked up on Yahoo Finance.
The one time stretch in which stocks were even more overbought than now was during the November 1998-July 2001 time period, according to Lyons’ calculations.
This article appeared on the moneynews.com Internet site at 6:22 a.m. EST on Wednesday---and today's first story is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.
Among the hedge-fund crowd, no currency comes close to the dollar in terms of appeal.
Together with other large speculators, the lightly regulated pools of capital have pushed net bullish-dollar positions to a record $48 billion, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington show. So convinced are they the greenback will extend its biggest rally since the global financial crisis that it’s now seen gaining against the euro, yen, pound and its five other major peers.
While the U.S. economy still isn’t growing as fast as it did before its 2007 plunge into the deepest contraction since the Great Depression, the outlook is more attractive when stacked against the increasing prospect of euro-area deflation, a Japanese recession and a China-led emerging-market slowdown. Bloomberg’s Dollar Spot Index has gained almost 10 percent since mid-year.
“The U.S. is still the cleanest shirt in the dirty laundry,” Jennifer Vail, the head of fixed income at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $120 billion, said by phone on Nov. 20. “I don’t view it as a crowded trade, I view it as people piling into the dollar due to the potential for further economic growth.”
Long the dollar to the nuts---and maxed out on the short side in the 'Big 6' commodities. The stage is set for an explosive reversal in all. This Bloomberg article showed up on their Internet site at 11:20 a.m. MST on Wednesday---and I borrowed it from yesterday's edition of the King Report.
After the smashing success of #AskJPMorgan comes this: "If you know any scams, crimes, or hazards that should be exposed or looked into, I want to hear from you!" - Laura Dimon
We know our readers will be delighted to help her, although one wonders: perhaps she should just call her dad?
This delightful bit of irony appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 9:41 p.m. EST last evening---and I thank Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention. It's worth a look.
Auditors have identified a black hole in European Union budgets that could lead to extra demands for cash from the British taxpayer of up to £34 billion over the next six years.
David Cameron will be legally obliged to make up a share of a shortfall of £259 billion by 2020 with liabilities for the Treasury estimated at £33.7bn, calculated at the usual rate of Britain’s EU contributions.
The hole in E.U. spending has been identified by the European Court of Auditors and represents a political disaster for the Prime Minister who has made repeated pledges to bring down the amount Britain pays into Brussels budgets.
“The E.U.’s ability to just grab money from taxpayers whenever it wants is an outrage. It underlines what is structurally wrong with our relationship under the existing treaties," said Bernard Jenkin MP, the chairman of the House of Commons public administration select committee.
This story showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 1:53 p.m. GMT yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sending it our way.
Most members of the European Parliament on Wednesday (26 November) endorsed Jean Claude Juncker's investment plan based on financial engineering, but critical voices said the scheme did not add up.
Juncker defended the scheme, which will use €8bn in "real" money from the E.U. budget and trigger an estimated €315bn in private and public investments over the next three years.
He described the plan variously as a "breath of fresh air" in the E.U. institutions, a "watering can" and "jump leads" - using little public money to attract more private investments by guaranteeing the riskiest parts of each project.
E.U. parliament chief Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat, was asked by journalists how he can endorse a scheme that very much resembles the "casino capitalism" that triggered the financial crisis. He said "we need this" because it will relaunch the economy.
This story appeared on the euobserver.com Internet site at 4:28 p.m. Europe time on their Wednesday afternoon---and I thank Roy Stephens for his first offering in today's column.
The eurozone is “grinding to a standstill” and now poses “a major risk to world growth”, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned in a report which urges the European Central Bank (ECB) to expand its stimulus programmes.
The stark warning is part of the biannual economic outlook report published on Tuesday (25 November) by the Paris-based think tank, whose members represent the world’s most advanced economies apart from China.
“Intensified monetary support is critical to growth”, said Catherine L. Mann, the OECD’s chief economist and author of the Economic Outlook.
The report calls on the ECB to “further expand its monetary support including through asset purchases [quantitative easing]”.
Melt the printing presses down, kiddies---as it ain't going to help. This story put in an appearance on the euobserver.com Internet site at 9:29 a.m. Europe time yesterday morning---and it's the second contribution in a row from Roy Stephens.
France is responsible for the controversy around the delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to the Russian navy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
French President Francois Hollande announced on Tuesday the suspension of a $1.6 billion deal with Russia in light of Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict.
"I don't want to comment on that. These are France's problems, not ours," Lavrov told reporters in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
"We are protected by contract. If France fails to meet its contractual obligations, the litigation process will not take long, I think," Lavrov said.
This story, filed from Sochi, appeared on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 7:26 p.m. Moscow time yesterday evening---and it's the third article in a row from Roy Stephens.
At least two people have been killed and six more injured on Tuesday when a shell hit a passenger bus in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk in east Ukraine, the Interior Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported.
“The incident happened not far from the Aurora cinema theater. A shell hit the bus No. 6,” the ministry said. “Two people died and six more were injured as a result."
On November 23, two gas pipelines have been set on fire by the Ukrainian military shelling of two districts of Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Donetskgorgaz (Donetsk City Gas) gas distribution company reported on Monday. More than 5,000 city dwellers have been left without gas supply as a result of the artillery attack.
This news item was posted on the itar-tass.com Internet site at 11:49 a.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday morning---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.
The Ukrainian Supreme Commercial Court of Appeal has upheld the nationalization of 1,433 kilometers of pipeline through the country which it says was illegally registered in the name of a subsidiary of Russia’s Transneft.
A spokesman for Transneft, Igor Demin, told TASS that the company intends to appeal the decision, and added that it will lead to a decline in the transit of product, and "the pipeline asset will turn into a pile of iron."
The nationalization primarily concerns the Samara of westerly direction pipeline, which is owned by part of Southwest Transnefteprodukt, a subsidiary of Transneft. The company also owns a part of the Grozny-Armavir-Trudovaya pipeline which is currently out of service.
Ukraine and E.U. countries get Russian diesel fuel through these pipelines.
This brief story appeared on the Russia Today website at 4:13 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon, which was 8:13 a.m. New York time. It's worth reading---and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
As usual, very telling interpretive work over the Ukraine Crisis heating up. Cohen sees this as a
potential for war similar to the late 1950s. But the worry is that the sides are not talking, just reacting.
Russia is assuming that Washington wants war, and is preparing for it.
The propaganda war is currently being initiated by the European Leadership Network NATO lobby group, active hawks and active also in misinformation about Russian incursions into European territories.
The audio interview was posted on the johnbatchelor.com Internet site on Wednesday---and it runs for 39:44 minutes. I thank reader Larry Galearis for sharing it with us.
The hostilities in Donbass are a menace to Russia, Europe and the entire world. Failure to realize it may spark a regional war, and eventually a world one. The world media’s interpretation of that war as the Ukrainian authorities’ crusade against pro-Russian separatists for the sake of the country’s integrity is as superficial and senseless as the delusion that World War I resulted from the murder of an Austrian prince, and World War II, from the Nazis’ success in Germany’s parliamentary elections. The Russian mass media’s explanation of that war is only slightly meaningful – popular resistance in Donbass against a Nazi junta that grabbed power in Kiev in an anti-government coup.
In the meantime, without understanding the underlying causes and driving forces that keep the armed conflict going it is impossible to bring it to a halt. In this paper the Ukrainian crisis is scrutinized in the context of global economic changes that are breeding objective prerequisites for an escalation of military-political tensions in international relations. The analysis explains the motives of the main actors in the Ukrainian conflict and the technologies they employ. It also unveils the reasons why attempts to end the conflict have failed and prompts a forecast it may evolve into another world war. Avoiding that will be possible only by upsetting the cause-effect relationship between the persisting crimes, whose scale is growing in a geometric progression. Otherwise there will be no option left other than getting ready for a world war, in which many would like to see Russia as an enemy, a victim and a prize to win.
This long but absolute must read essay by Sergei Glazyev appeared on the anna-news.com Internet site last Friday afternoon Moscow time---and I thank Warsaw reader Wojtek Szala for sending it our way on Sunday, but it had to wait for today. This is the most important article in today's column---precious metal-related or otherwise---so please give it the attention it deserves. The bio on Sergei Glazyev is here.
Russia threatens no one and will stay aloof from geopolitical intrigues, however strongly anyone may wish to pull the country into them, said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, addressing a meeting on the development of the armed forces.
“We are not threatening anyone and are not planning to get involved in any geopolitical games, intrigues and especially conflicts, no matter who would want to pull us into them,” Putin said at a meeting with military chiefs in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday.
The president stressed the importance of ensuring the sovereignty and integrity of Russia and its allies. He also said that an “integrated approach and the unification of all public authorities is needed in solving issues concerning national defense.”
This very interesting article was posted on the Russia Today website at 2:55 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon. It's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
"Russia condemns the use of extremist groups in efforts to change the regime [in Syria]," Lavrov said, at a news conference on Wednesday in Sochi, after meeting his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
The foreign minister called the US refusal to compromise with Syrian authorities "openly ideology-driven," saying that Syria's nuclear disarmament confirms the country's cooperation internationally.
Saying the fight against terrorism should be conducted without "double standards," the minister said strikes on the Islamic State forces without approval from Damascus violated international laws.
This story put in an appearance on the Russia Today Internet site at 4 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon---and the articles from Roy just keep on coming.
OPEC Gulf oil producers will not propose an output cut on Thursday, reducing the likelihood of joint action by OPEC to prop up prices that have sunk by a third since June.
"The GCC reached a consensus," Saudi Arabian Oil MinisterAli al-Naimi told reporters, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. "We are very confident that OPEC will have a unified position."
"The power of convincing will prevail tomorrow ... I am confident that OPEC is capable of taking a very unified position," Naimi added.
A Gulf OPEC delegate told Reuters the GCC had reached a consensus not to cut oil output. Three OPEC delegates separately told Reuters they believed OPEC was unlikely to take any action when the 12-member organisation meets on Thursday after Russia said it would not cut output in tandem.
This Reuters article, filed from Vienna, was posted on their website at 3:18 p.m. EST yesterday afternoon---and it's the first contribution of the day from Manitoba reader U.M.
The U.S. is putting pressure on Chinese and Arab banks, forbidding them to work with Russian sanctioned companies, says Andrey Kostin, head of Russia's second biggest lender VTB.
"We have information on Arab countries, China, and others that US officials come, gather the heads of banks and say: "We will punish everyone who is under Russian sanctions," said Kostin, after a meeting organized by the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
"We need to take this into account. Nobody wants to become BNP Paribas”, he said, meaning the large French bank that was fined $9 billion for violating US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan.
However, Kostin believes Chinese credit organizations will provide financing for projects that interest them.
This news item appeared on the Russia Today website at 2:36 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon was 6:36 a.m. yesterday morning EST. It's anther contribution from Roy Stephens.
Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said Tuesday the central bank is closely watching the impact of the yen’s sharp fall against other major currencies following the bank’s additional monetary easing announced last month.
Speaking to a meeting of business leaders in Nagoya, Kuroda said the weakening currency could negatively affect the economy through rising prices of imports, which place a disproportionate burden on smaller companies and households, although positive aspects include improved earnings for firms operating internationally.
The impact “differs from one economic entity to another,” he said. “We will carefully watch (the environment), including effects on the real economy.”
Kuroda also expressed his hope that companies benefiting from the yen’s depreciation, which has been prompted by the BoJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy, will help spur the economy by boosting wages or increasing business investment.
As Bill King said in his column yesterday---"The above story validates reports that Kuroda is uncoupling from Abe on concern that Abenomics is not working---and is instead harming large segments of Japan’s economy." As indicated, I found this Japan Times story embedded in yesterday's edition of the King Report.
Gold spiked higher in many price feeds overnight and was $270 higher or more than 22% higher to $1,467.50/oz at one stage in what appears to have been some form of computer glitch.
There was speculation that the price spike which came while the COMEX was closed for 30 minutes was due to a series of charting errors or misprints, a bad price feed or a computer glitch. Another example of how technology is a great enabler but can also be a great disabler.
Despite a very bullish backdrop of the Swiss gold referendum on Sunday, gold repatriation movements in Europe, Russian central bank gold buying and very robust Indian and Chinese demand, there was no breaking news that would justify such a dramatic uptick in gold.
The “usual suspects” were a fat finger trade by a large hedge fund or bank. This was quickly discounted as the price moved higher in a series of trades over a period of minutes rather than in one or two trades.
This very interesting commentary by Mark O'Byrne appeared on the goldcore.com Internet site on Wednesday---and it's worth skimming.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc were sued in New York over claims they conspired for eight years to manipulate prices for the precious metals platinum and palladium in what plaintiffs’ lawyers say is the first such class-action lawsuit in the U.S.
Standard Bank Group Ltd. and a metals unit of BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company, were also sued. The four companies used inside information about client purchases and sale orders to profit from price movements for the metals used in products ranging from jewelry to cars, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court.
Modern Settings LLC, a jeweler that buys precious metals and derivatives set on their prices, claims the companies “were privy to and shared confidential, non-public information about client purchase and sale orders that allowed them to glean information about the direction” of prices.
Similar lawsuits have been filed this year in Manhattan accusing banks of rigging the benchmark price for gold. Authorities around the world are examining the gold market for signs of wrongdoing.
This Bloomberg article, filed from New York, showed up on their website at 12:22 p.m. Denver time yesterday afternoon. The first reader through the door with this story yesterday was Elliot Simon, but I borrowed the headline from a GATA release.
Demands for gold reserve accountability have been rising in Europe – is this something that could spread around the world for those nations who own gold in vaults in countries other than their own – or indeed supposedly held even in their own countries?
We have seen Germany requesting repatriation of around half of its gold reserves, mostly held in the US, the recent return of some of its foreign held gold to The Netherlands, the Swiss referendum on the return of much of the nation’s gold and the raising of its reserve levels to 20% of its foreign reserves, and now the latest is a request to M. Christian Noyer, the Governor of the Bank of France, for that nation’s gold reserves to be comprehensively audited.
The request has come in the form of an open letter from the French right wing Front National opposition leader, Marine Le Pen. In it she requests that:
"This comprehensive audit should contain: A complete inventory of the physical gold amounting to 2,435 tonnes currently displayed and their quality (serial number, purity, bars 'Good Delivery' ...), conducted by an independent French body (to be defined). This inventory, under supervision of a bailiff, must indicate the country in which the gold reserves are stored in France or abroad."
Lawrie Williams comments on the Le Pen's call for an audit of France's gold---and it's worth reading. It was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.
Restricting the power of banks is the point, say the bugs. "It is about time that the power of central banks is contained and regulated. The Swiss gold initiative, while not ideal, would be a starting point," said Marc Faber, editor of the Gloom, Boom, Doom Report, a newsletter.
Swiss voters are likely to reject a November 30 referendum to force the Swiss National Bank to hold 20% of its reserves in gold, but you can't crush a gold bug.
Die-hard gold fans -- known as "gold bugs" -- aren't discouraged by the impending rejection of the Swiss people for their favorite metal. The Swiss National Bank and the major Swiss political parties are against the measure. On Sunday SNB president Thomas Jordan said the referendum would restrict the flexibility of the bank to respond to crises.
Restricting the power of banks is the point, say the bugs.
"It is about time that the power of central banks is contained and regulated. The Swiss gold initiative, while not ideal, would be a starting point," said Marc Faber, editor of The Gloom, Boom, Doom Report, a newsletter.
This gold-related story showed up on theguardian.com Internet site at 1:00 p.m. GMT yesterday afternoon---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site. The actual headline reads "Ron Paul and other gold bugs keep fingers crossed for Swiss vote that could add $50 to price of gold".
This 4:06 minute video clip is in English, of course, but it does have Swiss subtitles---and I urge you to pass it along to any Swiss readers you may know that are able to vote on this issue on Sunday.
It's not often that the citizens of a country can stick it directly to their central bank, but the Swiss have been offered this gift on a golden platter---and I hope they do what's necessary.
It was posted on the hiddensecretsofmoney.com Internet site early this week---and it's worth your time.
Gold premiums in Mumbai have dropped after the start of the Indian wedding season but November imports could well exceed 100 tonnes for the third month running, according to early indications.
Spot gold has staged a small recovery in recent sessions and physical demand in Asia is showing signs of improvement, despite premiums in India falling after buying for the annual wedding season died down.
Imports in November could be far higher than this year’s monthly average – imports in the first half of November were around 102 tonnes, Commerzbank said on Wednesday, citing reports from the Indian media. The country imported around 150 tonnes in October.
High imports could also reflect buying ahead of a possible tightening of import restrictions by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tackle the country’s ballooning current account deficit (CAD).
This gold-related news item was something I found on the bulliondesk.com Internet site. It was posted there at 1:28 p.m. GMT yesterday afternoon.
The centre is aimed towards conducting cutting-edge research on all aspects of the Indian gold industry.
The objective of the ‘India Gold Policy Centre’ is to develop insights into how the significant stocks of gold that India owns that can be used to advance growth, employment, social inclusion and the economic wealth of the nation. It aims to conduct research that has a practical application and that the industry and all stakeholders can use, leading to the development of an effective gold ecosystem in the country.
“As part of the initiative taken by IIMA to connect more closely with practice, and in line with our vision to contribute and reach out to industry, the Gold Centre will provide innovative solutions and insights for the gold industry through cutting-edge research. The research is intended to study the growth and development of the gold industry in India and globally,” said Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA.
Commenting on the collaboration, Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council said,”It is estimated that India holds around 22,000 tonnes of gold valued at over a trillion US dollars. This historic asset can be used to enhance the nation’s prosperity by putting it to work for the economy, creating jobs, developing skills, generating exports and revenues. To develop gold’s potential, we need to understand gold’s role in the Indian economy, through high quality data, insights and research.”
Another scheme to talk Indians out of their physical gold holdings---all with the help of the World Gold Council. This article appeared on the indianexpress.com Internet site at 3:01 p.m. IST on their Wednesday afternoon---and it's another story courtesy of reader U.M.
We have been quoting Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) withdrawal figures as the definitive indicator of Chinese gold demand. Last year, gold researcher Koos Jansen published a series of three articles on his website – ingoldwetrust.ch – demonstrating that as far as the Chinese are concerned the country’s gold demand is equal to gold withdrawals from the SGE. For the first of these articles see Shanghai Gold Exchange Physical Delivery Equals Chinese Demand.
The SGE rules suggest that once gold is taken out of the exchange it cannot be returned to it, but more of this later as U.S. precious metals analyst, Jeff Christian suggests this may not actually be the case.
Data from the World Gold Council (WGC), which is supplied by Thomson Reuters GFMS, comes up with the substantially lower figure for total Chinese gold demand of only 1,066 tonnes for 2013 and its Gold Demand Trends reports suggest a similar disparity between its and the SGE figures so far for 2014. This will be the data primarily used by gold analysts around the world, although a few are beginning to question it – including, obviously, Jansen.
Jeff Christian has contacted us with his views on why even CPM group’s analysis comes up with a lower overall demand figure than the SGE. Jeff is something of a bête noire for the gold investment community, as he disagrees strongly on whether there is manipulation of the gold market, but his consultancy is hugely respected within the industry and there is no doubt he firmly believes the data it puts out.
Bête noire is a wonderful choice of words---and I know that Lawrie picked it carefully. Another good word is quisling, as he is strong with the dark side of The Force. In my fifteen years of following the precious metals, I have never heard a kind word spoken of this man, nor a voice raised in his support. But, in all fairness, you should read this commentary---and make up your own mind. It was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday--and it's the final offering of the day from Manitoba reader U.M., for which I thank her.
Household debt rose to $11.71 trillion in the third quarter.
According to the New York Federal Reserve's latest Household Debt and Credit report, household debt in the third quarter rose 0.7%, or $78 billion, to $11.71 trillion, up from $11.62 trillion in the second quarter.
Overall, household debt is below its $12.68 trillion peak reached in the third quarter of 2008.
"Outstanding household debt, led by increases in auto loans, student loans and credit card balances, has steadily trended upward in recent quarters," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president and economist at the New York Fed. "In light of these data, it appears that the deleveraging period has come to an end and households are borrowing more."
Today's first story appeared on the businessinsider.com Internet site at 11:40 a.m. EST yesterday---and I thank reader U.D. for passing it around yesterday evening.
While everyone is aware by now that the biggest component of SAC's abnormal outperformance over the years was its recourse to "information arbitrage" and its reliance on "expert networks", both of which managed to send the SAC logo to Federal Purgatory, if not the hedge fund's infamous art-collecting founder, one player in the massive hedge fund insider trading ring which was busted over the past few years, involves the one hedge fund, which as we have shown in the past, has the highest leverage in the U.S. if not the world: Citadel, with $142 billion in regulatory assets.
Today, we learn just how Ken Griffin's conglomerate also got its hands clean, and more importantly, how it managed to avoid any legal consequences.
As Bloomberg reported overnight, "the FBI files spell it out: An analyst at Citadel LLC, the hedge fund with $23 billion in capital invested globally, told agents he made millions of dollars trading on information from a company insider."
Normally, this would have been enough for the FBI to raid said hedge fund and at least settle for a fine, if not pursue outright prison time for those involved. This time, however, it did not.
This longish commentary about the Federals Reserve's private hedge fund was posted on the Zero Hedge Web site at 11:32 a.m. EST yesterday morning---and I thank Manitoba reader U.M. for sending it our way.
U.S. prosecutors are set to travel to London in the forthcoming weeks to probe City traders about currency market manipulation. However, British prosecutors are yet to file a criminal charge against UK financiers who rigged the rates.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials will interview a group of current or former HSBC employees, along with other City bankers, as part of their criminal investigation into foreign exchange market (Forex) manipulation, inside sources told Reuters on Tuesday
The largely unregulated $5.3-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market is used by corporate treasurers and asset managers to value their funds.
The American body is currently investigating whether banks colluded to alter Forex rates and bolster their profits in the process. Such a maneuver is a violation of American and U.K. fraud and anti-trust laws. Prosecutors are also investigating whether traders deliberately misled their clients.
This offering from the Russia Today Web site appeared there at 5:43 p.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.
Security researchers say they have discovered a sophisticated piece of malicious code spying on researchers, governments, businesses, and critical telecommunications infrastructure since 2008.
The malware, called Regin, was first discovered by Symantec, the antivirus company, which released a white paper describing its findings on Sunday. On Monday, The Intercept, a digital magazine started by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, reported that the Regin malware is part of a decade-long joint operation by the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, or G.C.H.Q. The Intercept report is based in part on disclosures from former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden.
“In the world of malware threats, only a few rare examples can truly be considered groundbreaking and almost peerless,” Symantec wrote. “What we have seen in Regin is just such a class of malware.”
Symantec found evidence that the malware has been used on targets in 10 countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Ireland, Belgium and Austria. The Intercept reported Monday that the malware had been used to spy on companies in the European Union, notably Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and Internet provider.
This very interesting article appeared on the New York Times Web site on Monday at 12:42 p.m. EST---and it's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.
President Francois Hollande has decided to suspend delivery of the first Mistral-class ship to Russia "until further notice," citing the situation in Ukraine as the reason, media reported an Elysee Palace statement.
"The President of the Republic believes that the current situation in the east of Ukraine still does not allow the transfer of the first Russian Mistral-type ships to Russia," a statement from the Elysée Palace said.
In this regard, Francois Hollande felt it necessary to postpone the new order to study the request for permission to supply Russia with the first Mistral vessel, the communique informed.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said it will patiently wait for the fulfillment of the contract, RIA Novosti reports.
This news story put in an appearance on the Russia Today Internet site at 11:50 a.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday morning, which was 3:50 a.m. EST on Monday morning.
In a highly anticipated speech attended by almost all members of the European Parliament, pope Francis on Tuesday (25 November) criticised the E.U.'s treatment of migrants, its institutions, and its focus on growth and consumerism.
“Despite a larger and stronger Union, Europe seems to give the impression of being somewhat aged and weary, feeling less and less a protagonist in a world which frequently regards it with aloofness, mistrust, and even, at times, suspicion”, he said during his speech in Strasbourg.
He likened the European continent to “a grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant”.
Francis also signalled a “growing mistrust on the part of [EU] citizens towards institutions … engaged in laying down rules perceived as insensitive to individual people, if not downright harmful.”
No flies on this guy, as he understands the situation perfectly---and isn't afraid to say so. This article appeared on the euobserver.com Internet site at 3:34 p.m. Europe time Tuesday afternoon---and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
The European Commission has launched a €315bn “New Deal” to pull Europe out of its economic slump over the next three years, but will provide almost no new money of its own and is relying on subprime forms of financial engineering.
The shopping list of investments and infrastructure projects will take months to sift through, and the stimulus will not reach meaningful scale until 2016. The scheme has already run into a blizzard of criticism. It depends on leverage that increases the headline figure by 15 times, leaving EU taxpayers bearing the heaviest risk while private investors are shielded from losses.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission’s embattled new president, has made the plan the centre piece of his “last chance” drive to restore popular faith in the E.U. project, but it risks becoming an emblem of paralysis and failure instead.
“The money is chicken feed and it won’t do anything to kick-start growth,” said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University. “It is unbelievable they are doing this rather than real fiscal expansion. The private sector will just take governments to the cleaners.
This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 6:21 p.m. GMT yesterday evening---and it's courtesy of South African reader B.V. It's worth your while if you have the time---and the interest.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned recently that leaders should tone down their rhetoric on Russia. SPIEGEL asked him whether his comments were directed at Chancellor Merkel and how he believes the conflict with Russia might develop.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a master at keeping her cool, even when the pressure becomes almost unbearable. This may explain why a speech she gave at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, immediately following the G-20 summit in Brisbane, turned so many heads. Her comments in Sydney were the clearest indication yet that she is losing patience with Russia. "Outdated thinking in terms of spheres of influence which tramples international law underfoot must not be allowed to prevail," she said. "Russia is violating the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine."
During the audience discussion after the speech, Merkel warned that "we're not just talking about Ukraine. We're talking about Moldavia, about Georgia. If things go on, we'll be talking about Serbia and the Western Balkans."
Coming as it did just hours after an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin was aired on German television, the speech was seen as a direct and forceful response. And it seemed to make German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier uncomfortable. It is important, he said not long after Merkel's comments, "that in our use of language in public, we do not eliminate our chances of contributing to the easing of tensions and to the mitigation of conflict."
This interview/article was posted on the German website spiegel.de at 12:34 p.m. Europe time on Tuesday---and it's definitely a must read if you're a serious student of the New Great Game. It's courtesy of Roy Stephens once again, for which I thank him. The headline above is new---and certainly more provocative than its original title, which was German Foreign Minister Steinmeier on Russia and Ukraine.
The eighth convoy of Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry is expected to deliver humanitarian aid to Donbass on November 30, the Russian deputy emergency situations minister said on Tuesday.
“Over 100 vehicles are due to cross the border on Sunday. They are to deliver 1,000 tons of cargo,” Vladimir Stepanov said.
The convoy will consist of building materials needed for the destroyed houses: glass, slate, roofing material and also fuel.
Stepanov said one half of vehicles will go to Lugansk while the other one to Donetsk. “We know exactly where this aid will go,” Stepanov said.
This short article appeared on the itar-tass.com Internet site at 10:29 a.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday morning---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.
Anyone reading the Western business press relating to Russia recently will be left with the distinct impression that global trading relations with this part of the world are undergoing a momentous and irreversible shift east. Russian business ties with the West are severed, sanctioned and broken. Asian players, most prominently the Chinese corporations, are set to step in and fill the gaps left by retreating Western investment.
Certainly the recent fanfare of political handshaking ceremonies and deal signings would support such a proposition. The APEC Summit in Beijing in November saw Moscow and Beijing conclude an agreement between state-backed companies Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to supply gas from Western Siberia to China, from gas fields currently piped to Europe. This follows hot on the heels of the “Power of Siberia” project agreement between these companies signed in May with a purported $400bn deal value. If both projects are completed, overall volumes of gas supplies to China could exceed those supplied to Europe over the medium term.
Nonetheless, there remains a high level of scepticism in many business circles, including many Russian ones, as to how real or achievable this pivot east really is, at least in the short to medium term. The reality is that Europe will remain by far Russia’s largest export market for gas and as a bloc its largest overall trading partner for years to come. U.S. trade with Russia is much lower, but even so the U.S. remains Russia’s single largest foreign direct investor for infrastructure and power projects.
The Gazprom-CNPC deals are still just broad framework agreements, the latest milestones in years of protracted negotiations, with much planning and negotiation of the underlying contracts still to come. When speaking to bankers and professional advisers in Moscow, Beijing and Shanghai, there is a large element of wait-and-see about the realistic levels of deal flow that might emanate from Russian-Asian business cooperation over the next few years, as compared to those relating to Russian-Western trade and investment.
This opinion/analysis piece appeared on the russia-insider.com Internet site early yesterday morning Moscow time---and it's the second offering of the day from reader B.V.
1) Lavrov is considered very much a "moderate" and his language has always been strictly diplomatic. So when you read Lavrov, just imagine what folks in other Russian ministries are thinking.
2) Lavrov makes no secret of his view of the USA and of his plans for the future of our planet. When you read his words, try to imagine what a US Neocon feels and thinks and you will immediately see why the US elites both hate and fear Russia.
3) Finally, Lavrov openly admits that Russia and China have forged an long-term strategic alliance (proving all the nay-sayers who predicted that China would backstab Russian wrong). This is, I would argue, the single most important strategic development in the past decade.
4) Finally, notice the clear contempt which Lavrov has for a pseudo-Christian "West" which dares not speak in defense of persecuted Christians, denies its own roots, and does not even respect its own traditions. Russia did not want this conflict. Russia did everything in her power to prevent it. But the West left Russia no choice and Russia now openly declares her willingness to fight and prevail.
Of all the non-precious-metals related stories in today's column, this is by far the most important---and falls into the absolute must-read category, especially for all serious students of the New Great Game. It was posted on the vineyardsaker.blogspot.ca Internet site yesterday---and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.
OPEC's biggest crude producer Saudi Arabia will have its sights set on the upstart US shale oil business at a crucial cartel meeting to debate possible output cuts on Thursday.
Analysts say the kingdom is content to see shale oil producers -- and even some members of the cartel -- suffer from low prices and will resist pressure to reduce output and shore up the cost of oil.
A barrel of crude has plunged by about one third in value since June to around $80 in an increasingly competitive market.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was silent about his government's intentions Monday as he arrived in Vienna ahead of the OPEC gathering.
This AFP story, filed from Riyadh, showed up on the news.yahoo.com Internet site late on Monday evening---and it's courtesy of Casey Research's own Dennis Miller.
Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Mexico agreed that current oil prices were too low and decided to take coordinated actions to revert the trend, Venezuela’s foreign minister said.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez attended energy talks in Vienna with officials from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico in Vienna earlier in the day.
“Everyone agreed that the current price is bad. We will continue our work. Everyone is concerned about the price,” he told reporters after the talks.
“The price should be $100 per barrel, this is a fair price,” he said.
This news item put in an appearance on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 7:15 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday evening---and is the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him on your behalf.
CME Group Inc, the world's largest futures market operator, should continue to develop strategies to detect an illegal manipulative trading practice known as "spoofing," the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday.
Spoofing involves rapidly placing orders to create the illusion of market demand. Unsuspecting traders are then tricked into buying or selling at artificial prices, only to later find that the orders were canceled.
The practice gained notoriety last month after high-frequency trader Michael Coscia was charged with manipulating commodity futures prices in the first U.S. federal criminal prosecution of spoofing.
This Reuters article, filed from Chicago, was posted on their Web site at 6:51 p.m. EST on Monday evening---and it's courtesy of Manitoba reader U.M.
In the new edition of his Things That Make You Go Hmmm... letter, Singapore fund manager Grant Williams writes some future history that regards GATA favorites Alasdair Macleod and Koos Jansen as prophets of a Chinese-engineered golden age -- an age golden, at least, for those who heeded the prophets and got their gold in time.
Williams' letter is headlined "How Could It Happen?" and it was posted at the mauldineconomics.com Internet site yesterday sometime--and I found it embedded in a GATA release.
While we agree that Greenspan's legacy is a tarnished one, we also recall his statement to Marc Faber at the New Orleans Investment Conference last month where he said "I never said the central bank is independent."
At that conference he also stated that the Federal Reserve was sitting on "a pile of tinder" and that gold would go "measurably higher."
Gillian Tett has a record of unbiased analysis and commentary regarding the gold markets. In 2011 she suggested that it would be "foolish to simply deride or ignore" the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA).
GATA's contention of manipulation of the gold markets have now been borne out.
Tett is highly respected both in journalism but also in financial and economic circles. In her previous roles, she was U.S. Managing Editor and oversaw global coverage of the financial markets. In March 2009 she was Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards. In June 2009 her book Fool’s Gold won Financial Book of the Year at the inaugural Spear’s Book Awards.
This Financial Times story by Gillian Tett received 'the treatment' from Mark O'Byrne yesterday. Gillian's FT story was the headline to my Friday column---and even though Mark's efforts are a day or so late, they definitely aren't the proverbial dollar short, as I consider Mark to be one of the best writers on the Internet---and his analysis of this news item in the current financial environment are definitely worth your time. I found it on the goldcore.com Internet site yesterday.
Goldbugs hearts were racing today as gold roared up whilst Comex was closed for 1/2 hour. The price started leaping once it got over $1,200 & topped out at the price of $1,466.38 - a 22% rise of$270.
It was live on multiple websites and data feeds across the web so many got to watch the excitement. Goldbugs watched the prices on NetDania, iFeed and eSignal data feeds and on websites such as www.usagold.com and www.bulliondesk.com so the price increase appeared real.
Comex shorts must have been wetting themselves.
What must be asked is what was happening to these live quotes that gold rose almost $270 on multiple data feeds? Who was doing the watching---and who did the monitoring---and then the correction? Someone in control was watching these live feeds and reacting to them? What was happening to the quote stacks - who was buying/selling - did it really happen?
Well, dear reader, I was totally oblivious to this amazing event, as I only follow Kitco at home---and we even use Kitco pricing at the store. I didn't even hear about it from any of my readers until early yesterday evening. The first I heard of it was when Nick sent me this story very late yesterday afternoon Mountain Standard Time. It's definitely worth looking at---and it's posted on the sharelynx.com Internet site. Nick also sent along the Zero Hedge commentary on it---and it's headlined "Something Appears to Be Going On with Gold". [And as of 4:30 a.m. EST this morning, I haven't heard another thing about it. - Ed]
Marine Le Pen, leader of the populist National Front political party in France and likely France's next president if the country should last until another election, has picked up the gold repatriation issue by writing to the governor of the central bank, the Banque de France. Le Pen's letter, translated from French to English, is posted at her party's Internet site.
An official of the central bank disclosed last year that it is secretly trading gold for its own account and for other central banks "nearly on a daily basis."That same official said this month that central banks are managing their gold reserves "more actively" these days, while worrying more about "auditability," perhaps since the gold sometimes is construed to be in more than one place at the same time.
This commentary appeared on the gata.org Internet site yesterday---and it's definitely worth reading. And although I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing 'all of the above'---the first person through the door with this yesterday was reader U.M.---and she also sent along the Zero Hedge commentary on this headlined Here Comes France: Right-Wing Leader Marine Le Pen Demands Central Bank Repatriate French Gold. It's worth reading as well.
The Swiss like referendums: there were 11 last year and there have been nine more this year, on subjects ranging from who pays for abortions to whether the state should buy a certain type of new fighter aircraft.
This Sunday there are three more, but one has attracted more attention than most because there are fears that if it wins majority support it could trigger a worldwide gold rush.
Five million Swiss voters are to decide on a proposal that would force the central bank to triple its gold reserves. The vote is being watched closely by financial markets and governments around the world. ...
"Gold continues to trigger impetuous and irrational reactions in many people," Sergio Rossi, professor of macroeconomics and monetary economics at Fribourg University, told the Swiss news agency SDA.
This Swiss gold referendum-related story appeared on theguardian.com Internet site at 9:24 p.m. GMT yesterday evening---and I found it posted on the gata.org Internet site. The article's real headline reads Fears that ‘dangerous’ Switzerland referendum could spark gold rush.
Following reports of a sharp increase in the import of gold from Switzerland, Indian authorities have started investigating whether unaccounted money parked by Indians in banks these is entering India in the form of gold.
From this year, Swiss authorities have started disclosing that country’s import, as well as export, of precious metals. Between January and October, Switzerland exported 380 tonnes of gold to India. In January, India’s share in Switzerland’s overall gold and silver exports stood at 14.1%. This has increased to 16%.
So far this year, India has imported 27.7% of the gold exported by Switzerland; in January, this was only 15%.
The Centre has asked the customs department and the Reserve Bank of India to tally the gold imported from Switzerland with export data released by Swiss authorities and the payment for gold by India to banks and traders in Switzerland in March. A source said if both sets of data matched, one could conclude there was no direct relation between the gold imported from Switzerland to India and the black money parked in that country. “We believe even if the black money parked there is entering India through gold import, it will not come directly from Switzerland; importers will route that through Hong Kong of Dubai to hide the true identity.”
This interesting story, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the business-standard.com Internet site late Tuesday evening IST---and it's another offering from reader U.M.
China’s gold imports from Hong Kong rose for a third month as increasing jewelry sales countered weakening demand for the metal as an investment amid falling prices.
Net imports totaled 69 tonnes in October, compared with 61.7 tonnes the previous month and 129.9 tons a year earlier, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department today. Exports to the territory from China rose to 42.4 tons in October from 30.1 tons in September, the statistics department said in a separate statement. The figures don’t represent all imports of the metal by China, which doesn’t publish such data.
The value of China’s jewelry sales in October rose 2.9 percent from the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Bullion fell below $1,200 an ounce last month and erased its gains for the year as the U.S. economy improved and the dollar strengthened on prospects for higher interest rates, damping demand for precious metals as an inflation hedge.
“Higher jewelry sales for the third month defied some earlier forecasts that Chinese demand would falter after falling prices,” Liu Xu, an independent gold analyst in Beijing, said by phone before the data was released.
As usual, the official import data through Hong Kong was leaked early---and here's the story about it in this Bloomberg article that was filed from Beijing at 3:43 a.m. Denver time on Tuesday morning. Nick Laird won't be able to update his chart on this until the official numbers are released in the first week of December. This is another gold-related news item from reader U.M.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. (1929) plans to open new stores outside its main markets in Hong Kong and China, as it chases its Chinese customers outside familiar territory.
“While overseas travel is increasingly popular among the Mainland Chinese, it means more and more of their shopping budgets are spent in the new tourist destinations outside our major markets,” the world’s largest listed jewelry chain said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday.
Chow Tai Fook plans to double its number of points of sales, including concessionaires and standalone outlets, in the next 10 years. Stores in tourist hotspots outside mainland China and Hong Kong will also be its target “to capture the spending power of the affluent outbound Mainland Chinese tourists,” it said.
The expansion plan comes as the jeweler said pro-democracy protests held near its Hong Kong stores curtailed Chinese tourists. Travelers from China splurged the most on tax-free shopping last year, accounting for 27 percent of spending, according to a study by tax-refund points operator Global Blue.
This very interesting gold-related news item, filed from Hong Kong, appeared on the Bloomberg Web site at 6:52 p.m. Mountain Standard Time yesterday evening---and once again it's courtesy of reader U.M.
In a previous article we have already shown that Indian and Chinese gold demand between them currently account for annual gold consumption levels of perhaps as much as 3,100 tonnes, roughly equivalent to global new mined gold production as recorded by the World Gold Council (3,115 tonnes over the 12 months to end September).
The Chinese and Indian figures we have recorded are probably themselves understated – with Indian consumption swelled by smuggled gold imports to avoid the 10% import duty and take advantage of the gold premiums on the Indian markets. China’s figures are also understated in that they are mainland China figures and do not include Hong Kong net gold imports which probably should add another 40-50 tonnes to the figure given that Hong Kong is technically part of China, but in terms of economic statistics, including gold net imports, it is treated as an independent state.
For the 12 months to end September this year, Asia, other than China and India, is reported to have consumed some 280 tonnes, Middle East 218.6 tonnes, Turkey 121.9 tonnes, Russia 73.8 tonnes, USA 174.3 tonnes, Europe ex-CIS 272.1 tonnes and Other (countries not detailed in the main table) 425.3 tonnes, giving us the overall total of 1,566 tonnes.
The WGC’s Gold Demand Trends data puts global supply for the 12 months to end-September over and above new mined production at 1,143.5 tonnes. Taking our own figures for Chinese and Indian demand as being approximately equal to global new mined production that suggest to us that gold supply is going to be in deficit this year to the tune of around 420 tonnes plus, which is fairly substantial in the supply/demand equation (around 10%).
Lawrie correctly concludes that the reason that gold prices aren't higher is because of the antics of JPMorgan et al in the Comex futures market. This must read commentary showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's the final offering of the day from Manitoba reader U.M.---and I thank her on you behalf.
The modern-day central banker trades with counterparties that are giant commercial banks with derivative books of disturbing scale and complexity. It seems impossible that these commercial exposures could be constructed and maintained without the knowledge and complicity of the official sector. For example, Deutsche Bank, already a defendant in 1,000 lawsuits, claims derivative exposure that is 20 times the GDP of Germany and 5 times that of the entire Eurozone. It is not a great leap to suggest that central-bank traders and their megabank opposites – spawn of the same gene pool, schooled in the same institutions, career paths intertwined, frequenters of the same conferences, and just a speed-dial away – are ideologically indistinguishable and intellectually and morally corrupt in equal proportion. We applaud the efforts of litigators and plaintiffs already in process and those in the wings, and look forward to the depositions and discoveries yet to come.
Whether the eventual cessation of manipulative practices translates into a change of trend for the gold price remains to be seen, although it seems logical that the bullish consensus for financial assets equates to a complacent and very large short position in gold that will have to be covered (37.5 million troy ounces). More important, as we demonstrated in “Let’s Get Physical”, there is a massive asymmetry between paper claims on gold and physical metal. Should Western investment demand, accustomed to acting only through financial instruments such as ETFs, futures contracts, and derivatives, revive only modestly, the fragile link between paper claims and the real thing – which has been stretched and contorted by extreme rehypothecation (the use by financial institutions of clients’ assets, posted as collateral) – could easily shatter. The major winners in a systemic repricing of gold will be those who own or produce the real thing.
John's got such a way with words---and this right-on-the-money commentary was posted on the tocqueville.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank him for sliding a copy of it into my inbox before I found it on my own. It's an absolute must read of course---and probably deserves a second read as well.
As we noted before, despite record high stock prices and talking-heads imploring investors to believe CEOs are confident, they are not (consider the clear indication of a lack of economic confidence from tumbling capex and soaring buybacks), That is further confirmed today as Markit's survey of over 6000 firms showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further. More worrying, perhaps, is the US is not decoupled whatsoever, with future expectations of US business activity at the lowest since the financial crisis.
The Markit Global Business Outlook Survey, which looks at expectations for the year ahead across 6,100 companies, showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further.
This article appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 9:48 p.m. EST yesterday evening---and today's first news item is courtesy of Manitoba reader U.M.
Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., Nov. 21, 2014.
"Improving Financial Institution Supervision: Examining and Addressing Regulatory Capture"
Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
“I don’t think anyone should question our motives or what we are attempting to accomplish.” William Dudley
"Change has to come from the top. Either you need to fix it Mr. Dudley or we have to get someone who will." Sen. Elizabeth Warren
What a greasy little slime ball this Bill Dudley is, but he's no match for Senator Warren. This 9:30 minute youtube.com video clip was posted there last Friday---and I thank Toronto reader 'MichaelG' for sending it along.
The NY Fed and Goldman have combined again to produce fingers scraping on a moral blackboard. The story is – not – told coherently in a New York Times piece.
I’ll comment on only two aspects of the incoherent story. First, contrary to the NYT portrayal of the story, there is typically no ambiguity about whether regulatory information is confidential and there was no ambiguity about the particular information that we read (albeit, not in the NYT) that the NY Fed employee leaked to his former colleague after he joined Goldman Sachs.
Second, the NY Fed’s head, William Dudley’s, response to the latest scandal was “I don’t think anyone should question our motives.” I will argue that given the NY Fed’s intolerable institutional conflicts of interest, and the defense of continuing that conflict by the NY Fed’s leadership, e.g., Dudley, everyone should the regional Feds’ motives.
The NYT article revealed that a former NY Fed employee “Rohit Bansal, the 29-year-old former New York Fed regulator, was [hired by Goldman]. At the time he left the Fed, Mr. Bansal was the “central point of contact” for certain banks.” You have to read two-thirds of the story before you learn Bansal’s name and reading the entire story doesn’t tell you his positions and duties at the NY Fed or Goldman.
William K. Black carves Dudley a new one in this article that appeared on the neweconomicperspectives.org Internet site last Thursday---and it's definitely worth reading.
Q: David, can you explain how the ‘Fed put’ works on the stock markets and bond markets? How exactly does it translate into artificially higher stock prices and lower interest rates?
A: The Fed injects massive amounts of liquidity into Wall Street through the dealer system – that is, the 21 authorized treasury-bond dealers. The liquidity comes in the form of new credits to their bank accounts supplied by the Fed in return for the governments bonds, notes and bills, and even the GSE (Government-sponsored entity) obligations that it buys from them. The credit that the Fed supplies to the dealers is manufactured out of thin air; therefore it expands total credits and liquidity in the system. The dealers use it to buy other types of securities – stocks, bonds, derivatives positions and so forth.
Historically, the purpose of the Fed’s open-market intervention in this form was to encourage the banking system to extend credit to the business and household sectors, thereby stimulating economic growth, as predicated by the Keynesian model. That was always a one-time parlor trick, however, because with each cycle of easing leverage ratios in the business and household sectors were ratcheted steadily higher. Household debt ratios, for example, went from 80 percent of wage and salary income prior to 1975 to 220 percent by 2007.
The problem today is that we have reached ‘peak debt.’ The household sector has $13.3 trillion of debts, even after the modest post- crisis deleveraging; the ratio is still sky-high at 180 percent of wage and salary income.
Consequently, the household sector has been unable to borrow more money, no matter how much credit the Fed has injected through the dealers. That’s very different from where this whole Keynesian financial bubble started 40 years ago when we had, more or less, clean household balance sheets.
This interview was posted on the sprottglobal.com Internet site yesterday sometime.
Police and security services will get new powers as the U.K. faces a terror threat "perhaps greater than it has ever been", the home secretary says.
Unveiling a new counter-terrorism bill, Theresa May said the U.K. faced a security struggle "on many fronts".
Schools, universities and councils will be required to take steps to counter radicalisation.
Internet providers will have to retain Internet Protocol address data to identify individual users.
This article appeared on the bbc.com Internet site at 9:22 a.m. EST on Monday morning---and I thank International Man Senior Editor Nick Giambruno for passing it around.
Fiscal hawks and doves within the E.U. commission and member states continue to disagree on how to deal with France's budget deficit, seen as a credibility test for the E.U..
A meeting of heads of cabinets of E.U. commissioners over the weekend ended without a clear decision on possible sanctions for Paris for having again missed the three-percent deficit target for next year.
France has a projected deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP in 2015 and has announced it will meet the deficit target only in 2017.
Handelsblatt reports that a eurozone finance ministers meeting scheduled for next Monday (1 December) to discuss the E.U. commission's verdicts on the nationals budgets is likely to be postponed.
This story, filed from Brussels, showed up on the euobserver.com Internet site at 9:22 a.m. Europe time on their Monday morning---and I thank Roy Stephens for his first offering of the day.
The head of Germany's Bundesbank cautioned the European Central Bank on Monday about the legal hurdles it would face in embarking on money printing to buy government bonds, underlining its opposition to such a move.
The remarks from Jens Weidmann, who also sits on the ECB's Governing Council, raise a further question mark over ECB President Mario Draghi's ability to deliver after Draghi threw the door open for further measures to bolster the euro zone.
Draghi's comments last week were interpreted by some as meaning that buying government bonds with new money, a policy known as quantitative easing, could come as soon as early 2015. But he faces stiff opposition from Germany.
This Reuters story, filed from Madrid, put in an appearance on their website at 11:42 a.m. EST yesterday---and I thank Manitoba reader U.M. for her first contribution to today's column.
Just over a year ago, thousands of Ukrainians took to Kiev's main square, angry at oligarchs and corruption. But instead of “Europe” and prosperity, they got a coup, more oligarchy, and war.
During the three-month “people power” spectacle in Kiev's Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) that began on November 21, 2013, one of the protesters' favorite chants was “Who doesn't jump is a Moskal” (a derogatory term for Russians). After three months of “jumping” - which involved attacking the police, attempting to storm government buildings, and cheering US and European officials who came to support them, the protesters overthrew the legally elected president and establish their own government on February 22, 2014. It has been nine months since then – and a whole year since the “Maidan” protests began; let's try to see what they've been “jumping” for.
Much like the 2004 “Orange Revolution,” the Maidan protest was an exercise in perception management. Officially, the reason the protesters gathered was the government's balking at signing the EU accession treaty. A TV, internet and social media campaign – the very name “EuroMaidan” was a Twitter hashtag coined by some clever PR professional – got the people riled up against the government presented as corrupt, incompetent and selfish.
Was this so? Part of the problem with the E.U. treaty was that it demanded Ukraine restructure its entire apparatus of state and society to the Union's standards, which would have cost something like $19 billion a year for the next decade (per The Telegraph). But Brussels was willing to offer a paltry $750 million (€610 million) in loans. Ukraine needed much more just to stay solvent. It was, by all metrics, a bad deal for Ukraine.
This very interesting op-edge was posted on the Russia Today website at 2:28 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday afternoon, which was 6:28 a.m. EST in New York. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it---and it's definitely worth reading if you have the time or the interest, that is.
One year ago, negotiations over a Ukraine association agreement with the European Union collapsed. The result has been a standoff with Russia and war in the Donbass. It was an historical failure, and one that German Chancellor Angela Merkel contributed to.
Only six meters separated German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as they sat across from each other in the festively adorned knight's hall of the former Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In truth, though, they were worlds apart.
Yanukovych had just spoken. In meandering sentences, he tried to explain why the European Union's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius was more useful than it might have appeared at that moment, why it made sense to continue negotiating and how he would remain engaged in efforts towards a common future, just as he had previously been. "We need several billion euros in aid very quickly," Yanukovych said.
Then the chancellor wanted to have her say. Merkel peered into the circle of the 28 leaders of EU member states who had gathered in Vilnius that evening. What followed was a sentence dripping with disapproval and cool sarcasm aimed directly at the Ukrainian president. "I feel like I'm at a wedding where the groom has suddenly issued new, last minute stipulations."
The EU and Ukraine had spent years negotiating an association agreement. They had signed letters of intent, obtained agreement from cabinets and parliaments, completed countless diplomatic visits and exchanged objections. But in the end, on the evening of Nov. 28, 2014 in the old palace in Vilnius, it became clear that it had all been a wasted effort. It was an historical earthquake.
This long essay, which is also definitely worth reading, appeared on the German website spiegel.de at 7:00 p.m. Europe time yesterday evening---and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
Suspension of coal supplies from Russia will entail serious energy shortages in Ukraine, a Ukrainian expert said on Monday.
“It is a very dangerous signal: if we receive no coal from Russia we have little chance to find other sources to substitute for it,” Dmitry Marunich, a co-chairman of the Ukrainian Energy Strategies Fund, told the 112 Ukraine television channel. “We will simply have no time and money to sign coal contracts with other suppliers in other countries. We must not let it happen. It will trigger a serious shortage in electricity supplies and rotating power cuts will be inevitable.”
Earlier on Monday, Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yury Prodan confirmed reports that Russian companies had suspended exports of steam coal to Ukraine.
“According to information I have received from DTEK and Centrenergo, Russian companies have suspended coal export to Ukraine,” he told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper. “I do not know why but I can say that the reasons are not economic. Both DTEK and Centrenergo pay for coal in due time.”
This very interesting news item, filed from Kiev, appeared on the itar.tass.com Internet site at 10:06 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.
As Kiev continues to amass its forces in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire and use radical nationalist groups as armed battalions, Moscow is concerned about possible ethnic cleansing there, Russian President Vladimir Putin told ARD in an interview.
Speaking with Hubert Seipel of the German channel ARD ahead of the G20 summit, Putin warned of catastrophic consequences for Ukraine if the Kiev government continues to nurture radical nationalism and Russophobia, including in the ranks of its military and National Guard units that are still being sent as reinforcements to the country’s troubled east.
“Frankly speaking, we are very concerned about any possible ethnic cleansings and Ukraine ending up as a neo-Nazi state. What are we supposed to think if people are bearing swastikas on their sleeves? Or what about the SS emblems that we see on the helmets of some military units now fighting in eastern Ukraine? If it is a civilized state, where are the authorities looking? At least they could get rid of this uniform, they could make the nationalists remove these emblems,” Putin said.
This article showed up on the Russia Today website eight days ago---and it's also courtesy of reader M.A.
The foreign ministers of the European Union discussed the situation in Ukraine and their turbulent relations with Moscow agreeing that there is no point to enhance sanctions against Russia.
The meeting in Brussels came on the heels of G20 summit in Brisbane and was followed by German Foreign Minister visit to Moscow in a clear sign that all sides are not ready to prolong the standoff and strive to find the solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Studio guest Ernest Sultanov, expert from MIR-initiative, an independent think-tank in Moscow, Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, the Founder and President of World Security Network Foundation, Horvath Gabor, Foreign Editor of Népszabadság newspaper, Budapest, and Soren Liborious, Spokesman, Head of Press and Information Delegation of the European Union to Russia, shared their opinions with Radio Sputnik.
No sanctions were imposed on Russia following the talks in Brussels. Don’t you have a feeling that Europe doesn’t have stomach for sanctions?
Ernest Sultanov: The sanctions are really bad for both sides. So, I don’t think they don’t have stomach to impose the sanctions, I think both sides have to find some other solutions to resolve the issues between them.
This interview was posted on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 12 o'clock noon Moscow time on Saturday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for finding it for us.
The fine arts auctions house Christie's has sold Valentin Serov's painting Portrait of Maria Zetlin for $14,511 million during bidding in London, setting a record for a piece of Russian art sold at auction.
Serov's work was put up for auction by Israeli city Ramat Gan's administration. Christie's had initially estimated the painting's price at $2.3-$3.9 million.
"The Portrait of Maria Zetlin is without doubts, Serov's most unique work, which I had the honor of holding in my hands during a long history of my work at Christie's," International director of Christie's Russian Art Department Alexei Tizengauzen said ahead of the auction.
This interesting news story, filed from Moscow, showed up on their Internet site at 8:45 p.m. Moscow time yesterday evening local time---and I thank reader M.A. for finding it for us.
It wouldn’t be the first time that a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has taken place in an atmosphere of deep division, bordering on outright hatred. In 1976, Saudi Arabia’s former oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani stormed out of the OPEC gathering early when other members of the cartel wouldn’t agree to the wishes of his new master, King Khaled.
The 166th meeting of the group in Vienna next week is looking like it could end in a similarly acrimonious fashion with Saudi Arabia and several other members at loggerheads over what to do about falling oil prices.
Whatever action OPEC agrees to take next week to halt the sharp decline in the value of crude, experts agree that one thing is clear: the world is entering into an era of lower oil prices that the group is almost powerless to change.
This new energy paradigm may result in oil trading at much lower levels than the $100 (£64) per barrel that consumers have grown used to paying over the last decade and reshape the entire global economy.
This article appeared on The Telegraph's website at 1 p.m. GMT on Saturday---and it's another contribution from reader B.V.
China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, concerned that falling prices could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making.
Friday's surprise cut in rates, the first in more than two years, reflects a change of course by Beijing and the central bank, which had persisted with modest stimulus measures before finally deciding last week that a bold monetary policy step was required to stabilize the world's second-largest economy.
Economic growth has slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter and policymakers feared it was on the verge of dipping below 7 percent - a rate not seen since the global financial crisis. Producer prices, charged at the factory gate, have been falling for almost three years, piling pressure on manufacturers, and consumer inflation is also weak. "Top leaders have changed their views," said a senior economist at a government think-tank involved in internal policy discussions.
This Reuters article, filed from Beijing, appeared on their Internet site at 10:49 p.m. EST on Sunday evening---and I found it posted on the gata.org Internet site.
China's Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) signed a pact with the Los Angeles city government to promote cross-border yuan trade and set up an offshore renminbi center in California, the bank said on Saturday.
The move to create an offshore RMB center in the largest state in the United States would lay the foundations for greater yuan trade with China, ICBC said in a statement.
The agreement comes at a time when many other countries are ahead of the United States in establishing cross-border trade in yuan.
This Reuters piece, filed from Beijing, was posted on their website at 3:37 a.m. EST on Saturday morning---and reader 'David in California' was the first person through the door with it on Sunday.
Dave and I got together on Sunday afternoon over at all-talk radio WAAM-1600FM out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. We spoke about the dire straits that the world economy is in---but most of it was about precious metals.
The audio interview posted on the davejanda.com Internet site---and it runs for about twenty-five minutes.
The heavy involvement of investment banks in commodity trading creates the potential for market manipulation and conflicts of interest in the gold market, and exchange-traded gold funds may be mechanisms of market manipulation contrary to the basics of supply and demand, according to the 396-page report published last week by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
GATA's friend J.H. points out these findings on Page 38 of the report:
"Possible conflicts of interest permeate virtually every type of commodity activity. If the bank's affiliate leases an electrical power plant, the bank may attempt to use regional pricing conventions to boost its profits, even at the expense of clients that pay the higher electricity costs. If the bank's affiliate mines coal while the bank trades coal swaps, the bank may ask its affiliate to store the coal rather than sell it to help restrict supplies, and benefit from long swap positions, while causing its counterparties to incur losses. If the bank's affiliate operates a commodity-based exchange-traded fund backed by gold, the bank may ask the affiliate to release some of the gold into the marketplace and lower gold prices, so that the bank can profit from a short position in gold futures or swaps, even if some clients hold long positions.
"A fourth problem with mixing banking and commerce is that, in the context of physical commodities, it invites market manipulation and excessive speculation in commodity prices. If a bank's affiliate owns or controls a metals warehouse, oil pipeline, a coal-shipping operation, refinery, grain elevator, or exchange-traded fund backed by physical commodities, the bank has the means to affect the marginal supply of a commodity and can use those means to benefit the bank's physical or financial commodities trading positions. If a bank's affiliate controls a power plant, the bank can 'manipulate the availability of energy for advantage' or to obtain higher profits."
This commentary, along with a link to the Senate report, is posted in this GATA release from Sunday.
Platinum and palladium supply probably will fall short of demand for a fourth year in 2015 as more usage in vehicles helps compensate for rebounding South African mine output, according to Johnson Matthey Plc.
Platinum demand will outpace supply by 1.13 million ounces this year and palladium’s deficit will be 1.62 million ounces, according to a presentation of London-based Johnson Matthey’s platinum-group metals report. They would be the biggest shortfalls ever, based on data going back more than three decades for the metals.
A five-month mine strike that ended in June cut output from South Africa, the largest platinum producer and second-biggest for palladium. Supply shortages should continue next year partly as car demand strengthens in North America and China and stricter legislation requires more of the metals to be used in devices that curb harmful emissions.
“All things being equal, we would expect to see a good bounce back in South African supplies for both platinum and palladium,” Rupen Raithatha, research manager at Johnson Matthey, said by phone from Royston, England before the company presented the data today. “The auto side is going to be good.”
This Bloomberg article showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's courtesy of reader U.M. Reader B.V. sent me the same story on this from the bulliondesk.com Internet site---and it's headlined "Platinum seen in record 1.33 million oz. deficit in ’14 – Johnson Matthey".
Interviewed by the German financial journalist Lars Schall for Matterhorn Asset Management's Gold Switzerland, Singapore fund manager and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm..." letter editor Grant Williams says there's no doubt that the gold market is manipulated, that the only question is how much, and that because of central bank intervention there's not much left to free markets.
Schall and Williams cover other subjects, including the nature of money, the abuse of money creation and credit, the likelihood of returning to a gold standard, and the Swiss Gold Initiative. The interview is an hour long and can be heard at the goldswitzerland.com Internet site.
I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraphs of introduction---and I must admit that I haven't had the time to listen to it.
As the debate regarding whether or not Switzerland should keep the bulk of its gold reserves at home on Swiss soil reaches it's climax - the referendum takes place on Sunday - it is telling that the Dutch announced on Friday that they have just secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of their sovereign gold reserves from New York back to Amsterdam.
The repatriation movement has been driven by suspicion that the Federal Reserve and other central banks may have leased or sold gold it was holding on behalf of other countries to bullion banks and that this gold may have been used in order to suppress the price of gold in recent years. Bizarrely, the Federal Reserve’s gold holdings have not been audited in over 50 years.
Questions are already being asked about how the Dutch were able to repatriate such a sizeable volume of gold when Germany's request was brushed aside. It may be that by taking a discreet approach the Dutch allowed the Federal Reserve room to manoeuvre - allowing them to harvest the metal from the open market. Skeptical analysts have suggested that the fall in the ETF gold holdings may have come in handy for the New York Federal Reserve.
Although the German Central Bank has stated that it trusts the Americans as custodians of it's gold reserves - despite being denied access to vaults in New York to view their own gold - the campaign for repatriation of Germany’s gold remains strong.
This must read commentary by Mark O'Byrne appeared on the goldcore.com Internet site on Monday.
From Deutsche bank Behavioral Finance: Daily Metals Outlook
Although gold market operators are currently preoccupied with the prospect of the SNB finding itself obliged by referendum to buy large quantities of bullion, another central bank raised the same possibility yesterday: the ECB. As odd as it sounds, given the contentious internal debate this year over asset purchases in general, ECB board member, Yves Mersch, reminded journalists that the Bank could in theory buy any asset within a QE program. This could mean government debt, equities, ETFs, or even gold. Indeed, within an effective asset purchase program it matters not so much what the asset is, than who the seller is. Given that the eurozone banking system still appears to be a bottleneck in the monetary transmission mechanism, there might be some wisdom in bypassing it. Banks do not hold gold. However, this ‘theoretical’ possibility would quickly run into practical constraints, not least the volume limitations and the problem of having to pick winners and losers.
However, the idea of gold purchases has merit because of the possible sellers. Much gold is held in private households, especially in countries like Germany. In some cases these are unwanted remnants of crisis-driven investments five years ago. A program that targeted these holdings would liberate dormant liquidity, some of which might even flow into consumption.
This very interesting article appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 3:19 p.m. EST on Monday afternoon---and I thank reader 'David in California' for sending it our way.
A week after we reported that the head of the Ukraine central bank admitted in an unofficial, informal interview that Ukraine's gold is gone, all gone, moments ago the Central Bank revealed that, sure enough, the gold holdings in the civil war-torn country have tumbled, as a result of a decision in September to "increase the share of U.S. dollars in a reserve basket", or in other words, to sell the gold. Just don't call it that: in fact, as of today we have a brand new buzzword for gold liquidations: "optimization of international reserves."
From the central bank: National Bank of Ukraine has optimized the structure of international reserves. This is due to timing structure of international reserves and the external position of the country. National Bank of Ukraine decided in September 2014 to increase the share of U.S. dollar in a reserve basket, because the structure of the trade balance of the country is 70.3% in US dollars, 15% in euros. 77.7% of gross foreign debt denominated in Ukraine USD in EUR - 11.2% in SDR - 5.8%.
Recently, there was a significant volatility in global currency markets associated with the strengthening of the US dollar against other world currencies. Therefore, the National Bank of Ukraine decided to reduce the share of gold in foreign exchange reserves to 8%. To this end, the international markets has sold 0.46 million. Troy ounces of gold in US dollars, respectively proportion of gold in international reserves declined to 7.9%.
It appears from this story the Ukraine's central bank that they didn't sell all their gold. This news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 10:16 a.m. EST on Monday morning---and reader M.A. was the first person through the door with it.
Central bankers reached a new low overnight when Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan warned of "disastrous consequences" from a pulpit in a church on a historic hill in the town of Uster, Switzerland.
“The initiative is dangerous because it would weaken the SNB,” he said yesterday regarding proposals to increase the Swiss gold reserves, at a memorial service in a church which Bloomberg dubbed the 'sermon on the hill.'
The separation of church and state was one of the great achievement of recent years. It looks like we need to see a proper separation of central banking from the state. States and sovereign nations should be in control of central banks, rather than the other way around.
Central bankers and their dogmatic Keynesian money printing creed would like to see themselves and their policies as infallible. Despite, such policies having an abysmal track record throughout history and indeed in recent years.
Banks are turning out to be like lawyers. What won't they stoop to if they have to??? It reminds me of the joke about what the difference was between a lawyer and rat---and the answer was that "there are some things that rats just won't do." This Zero Hedge piece appeared on their website at 4:51 p.m. EST on Monday---and I thank reader Harry Grant for pointing it out. It's worth reading.
The Swiss will vote on a referendum on November 30th that would ban the Swiss National Bank (SNB) from selling current and future gold reserves, repatriate foreign stored gold holdings to Switzerland, and mandate that gold must comprise a minimum of 20% of central bank assets. The SNB does not usually comment on political referendums. However, in this case it has done so quite vocally.
Why has the central bank decided to step into the political fray and oppose this initiative? What are its concerns? Are they valid or motivated by other factors?
The SNB’s primary objections to the gold initiative are three fold. 1) It claims that gold is “one of the most volatile and riskiest investments”, 2) that a 20% gold requirement will lower the “distributions to the confederation and the cantons” since gold does not pay interest like bonds and dividend paying stocks, and 3) that the 20% gold holding requirement will interfere with its ability to conduct monetary policy and complicate efforts to maintain “the minimum exchange rate”, the “temporary” policy of pegging the Swiss franc (CHF) to the Euro (EUR) it initiated in 2011 and continues to enforce to this day.
The first two concerns can quickly be addressed and discounted. Gold is indeed a volatile asset at times but so are bonds and equities. In recent years Greek, Spanish, Italian, Irish and other European bonds have been far more volatile than gold. The SMI, the Swiss stock index, lost over 50% of its value on two separate occasions between 2000 and 2009 while gold steadily rose at an annual rate of 8.50% over the same period.
This very thoughtful article was written by Eric Schreiber, independent asset manager, former head of commodities UBP, former head of precious metals Credit Suisse Zurich. All views expressed are his and may not reflect those of his former employers. This falls into the absolute must read category---and appeared on the goldsilverworlds.com Internet site yesterday.
Rajesh Exports, the leading Indian gold exporter, announced that it has bagged a massive export order from UAE-based jeweler. The company has reportedly secured an export order worth Rs 1,350 crore from Al Sultan Jewellery, UAE. According to the deal, Rajesh Exports will supply designer range of gold and diamond studded jewelry and medallions.
The order is to be executed by end-February next year. According to the company, the execution of the order will contribute significantly to the bottom line of the company. The Bangalore facility will be responsible to meet the order in time. The company expressed confidence that it will be able to complete the order well within the time frame. Incidentally, the Banglaore manufacturing facility, with a built-up area of 500,000 square feet is the world’s largest jewelry manufacturing facility.
Earlier in July this year, the company had secured an export order worth Rs 1,260 crores of designer range of gold and diamond studded jewelry and medallions from Al Jameelat Jewellery, UAE. The company had successfully executed the order within the stipulated deadline of 30 September 2014.
This gold-related article showed up on the resourceinvestor.com Internet site sometime yesterday---and it's the final offering of the day from Manitoba reader U.M.
China's government and private gold reserves likely total almost 16,000 tonnes, Bullion Star market analyst and GATA consultant Koos Jansen figures, calling attention to a Deutsche Bank report estimating that the People's Bank of China is accumulating gold at a rate of 500 tonnes per year.
Jansen's commentary is posted at the bullionstar.com Internet site yesterday---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.
The global financial system has come unglued. Everywhere the real world evidence points to cooling growth, faltering investment, slowing trade, vast excess industrial capacity, peak private debt, public fiscal exhaustion, currency wars, intensified politico-military conflict and an unprecedented disconnect between debt-saturated real economies and irrationally exuberant financial markets.
Yet overnight two central banks promised what amounts to more monetary heroin and, presto, the S&P 500 index jerked up to 2070. That is, the robo-traders inflated the PE multiple for S&P’s basket of US-based global companies to a nosebleed 20X their reported LTM earnings.
And those earnings surely embody a high water mark in a world where Japan is going down for the count, China’s house of cards is truly collapsing, Europe is plunging into a triple dip, and Wall Street’s spurious claim that 3% “escape velocity” has finally arrived in the US is soon to be discredited for the 5th year running. So it goes without saying that if “price discovery” actually existed in the Wall Street casino, the capitalization rate on these blatantly engineered earnings (i.e., inflated EPS owing to massive buybacks) would be decidedly less exuberant.
In truth, nothing has changed about the precarious state of the world since yesterday. Except… except the Great Bloviator at the ECB made another fatuous and undeliverable promise—this time that he would do whatever he “must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible”; and, at nearly the same hour, the desperate comrades in Beijing administered another sharp poke in the eye to China’s savers by lowering the deposit rate to by 25 bps to 2.75%.David Stockman goes supernova in this article that appeared on his website yesterday sometime---and today's first offering is courtesy of Roy Stephens.
Jim Rickards, chief global atrategist at West Shore Funds, says the US economy is still seeing below-trend growth and remains too weak to support an interest rate increase. Jim is also on record as saying that interest rates will never rise again.
This 3:32-minute CNBC video clip was posted on their Web site at 9:20 p.m. EST on Thursday evening---and it's courtesy of Harold Jacobsen.
At the “Core of the Core,” historic market euphoria has pushed excess in U.S. equities and corporate Credit to precarious extremes (relative to rapidly deteriorating global financial and economic fundamentals). Concerted global central bank stimulus measures have exacerbated the divergence between inflated securities prices and deflating prospects for global growth and profits. Worse yet, the redistribution of wealth that accompanies the policy-induced inflation of the “Global Financial Sphere” is worsening already alarming geopolitical tensions. Global central banking and “risk free” government debt are at risk of being discredited.
Why would I contemplate that central bank measures might be losing ability to keep the global Bubble afloat? Over recent weeks we’ve seen the concerted efforts of team Yellen, Draghi, Kuroda and the PBOC have minimal impact on the fragile “Periphery.” Even Friday, on the back of Draghi and the Chinese, crude oil gave back much of an earlier 2.6% gain to close the week up only 69 cents. The Goldman Sachs Commodities index was only slightly positive for the week near multi-year lows. Curiously, Italian CDS increased added a basis point this week. Greek CDS traded to a 13-month high Thursday. Eastern European currencies traded down again this week. Data out of Europe has been just dreadful. Ukraine looks dangerous.
The Mexican peso declined 60 bps this week, trading at the lowest level versus the dollar since the summer of 2012. Mexico succumbing to EM contagion would be a major development. Meanwhile, here at the Bubble’s “Core,” this week saw the S&P Homebuilding Index jump 3.9% and the Morgan Stanley Retail Index rise 2.1% (to a record high). Yet there were a few interesting Bloomberg headlines: “Riskiest Junk Borrowers Imperiled as Yields Jump…;” “Munis Facing First Losses of 2014 as Record Win Streak Imperiled;” “Corporate Bond Spread Versus Treasuries Widens to Most in 2014;” “Bond Record in Sight as Sales Near $4 Trillion.” Now that’s something to ponder: A record $4.0 TN of international corporate bond issuance in the face of a faltering global Bubble. Like many things these days, it brings back (bad) memories of 2007.
Doug's Credit Bubble Bulletin was posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site late on Friday evening---and it's always a must read. I found this item on my own before reader U.D. could send it to me.
Warm temperatures and rain were forecast for the weekend in the city of Buffalo and western New York, bringing the threat of widespread flooding to the region bound for days by deep snow.
Areas where several feet of snow fell this week should brace for significant, widespread flooding, the National Weather Service warned on Friday.
Swept by lake effect storms, parts of western New York including Buffalo, received as much as seven feet (2 meters) of snow, an amount equal to a year's worth of accumulation for the region. Such storms occur when cold air moves across warmer Great Lake waters and can dump heavy snowfall when they hit land.This Reuters article appeared on their Web site at 12:19 p.m. EST on Friday---and it's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.
The Bank of England has opened a formal investigation into whether its officials knew of -- and even facilitated -- the possible manipulation of auctions designed to inject money into the credit markets to alleviate the financial crisis.
The probe, which started in the summer, has been revealed just a week after the U.K. central bank published a report that criticised its own response to the foreign exchange rigging scandal.
The rest of this Financial Times story is subscriber protected---and I found it in a GATA release yesterday.
The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.
The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Even the British government clearly believes it must end. On October 28, the deputy foreign minister, Hugo Swire, told Parliament he would "actively welcome" the Swedish prosecutor in London and "we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that". The tone was impatient.
The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has refused to come to London to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct in Stockholm in 2010 - even though Swedish law allows for it and the procedure is routine for Sweden and the U.K. The documentary evidence of a threat to Assange's life and freedom from the United States - should he leave the embassy - is overwhelming. On May 14 this year, U.S. court files revealed that a "multi subject investigation" against Assange was "active and ongoing".
This essay by John Pilger was posted on the Asia Times Web site on Monday---and I thank UK reader Tariq Khan for sending it. For obvious reasons, it had to wait for today's column.
Details have emerged indicating that both the Dutch and German governments were preparing emergency plans for a return to their national currencies at the height of the euro crisis.
In early 2012, a few months after the then Greek prime minister Georgios Papandreou and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi had resigned, the Dutch finance ministry prepared for a scenario in which the Netherlands could return to its former currency.
Dutch TV documentary programme Argos Medialogica reported on Tuesday (18 November), based on anonymous sources, that the ministry had an emergency plan called Florijn, a reference the original name of the guilder, the Netherlands' pre-euro coin.
Current finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem also confirmed the existence of the plan on Tuesday in his weekly interview with RTLZ.This very interesting article was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site at 9:53 a.m. Europe time on their Friday morning---and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi threw the door wide open on Friday for more drastic measures to prevent the euro zone from sliding into deflation, promising to use whatever means necessary as China also acted to boost its sagging economic growth.
With many fearing the euro zone could be heading for a Japanese-style lost decade of deflation and recession, Draghi's remarks were reminiscent of when he pulled the bloc back from possible disintegration in 2012 by promising to do "whatever it takes" to back the common currency.
Painting a bleak picture of the state of the 18 countries in the euro bloc, Draghi stressed that "excessively low" inflation had to be raised quickly.
In a blunt message, he said there was now no sign of improvement in the months ahead and the ECB would pump more money into the euro bloc if its current measures fell short.This Reuters piece, filed from Frankfurt at 2:35 p.m. EST yesterday, is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon---and it's definitely worth reading.
On Friday activists booed Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko as he attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the ‘heavenly hundred’ memorial erected on Institutskaya Street in Kiev.
This Friday Ukraine celebrates the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the pro-Eurointegration protests last year that culminated in a putsch which ousted President Viktor Yanukovich. The people killed during the protests on Institutskaya Street were nicknamed “the heavenly hundred.” US Vice President Joe Biden, who is in Kiev to discuss offering assistance to Ukraine, was slated to participate in the ceremony but changed plans at the last minute. Biden is only the last in a series of US officials who went out of their way to show support for the protesters and the regime that they subsequently installed.
“Shame [on you]!”, “You’re awarding our heroes posthumously!” chanted the crowd that assembled on Friday, which included some of the relatives of the dead. One of the activists pointed out that those wounded during the February clashes at Maidan Square didn’t receive the special status that would’ve provided them with free access to the social and medical assistance they require.
Poroshenko made an attempt to calm the crowd but failed, and was forced to leave the ceremony amid the angry shouting.
This news item, filed from Moscow, appeared on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 3:31 p.m. Moscow time yesterday afternoon---with was 7:31 a.m. EST. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it. The france24.com Internet site carried a similar story on Friday. It was headlined "Ukraine’s Poroshenko heckled at anniversary of Kiev protest"---and it's courtesy of South African reader B.V.
The newly elected U.S. Congress will pass resolutions and apply pressure to U.S. President Barack Obama to provide Ukraine with lethal military assistance, U.S. Senator John McCain told Sputnik news in a Friday interview.
"We [Congress] will be talking a lot about it. We will pass resolutions. We will put every amount of pressure we can on this recalcitrant administration," McCain said when asked about the Obama administration's ongoing refusal to provide lethal military aid to the government in Kiev.
The Senator, who is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015, does not know whether the efforts by Congress will be successful.
Whether the issue creates a major clash between the executive and legislative branches of the US government will "depend on whether they [the Obama administration] will see reality or not," McCain said.
This story, filed from Washington, was posted on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 7:31 p.m. EST on Friday evening---and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.
Moscow has warned Washington a potential policy shift from supplying Kiev with “non-lethal aid” to “defensive lethal weapons”, mulled as US Vice President visits Ukraine, would be a direct violation of all international agreements.
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that reports of possible deliveries of American “defensive weapons” to Ukraine would be viewed by Russia as a “very serious signal.”
“We heard repeated confirmations from the [US] administration, that it only supplies non-lethal aid to Ukraine. If there is a change of this policy, then we are talking about a serious destabilizing factor which could seriously affect the balance of power in the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich cautioned.
This news item was posted on the Russia Today Internet site at three minutes after midnight on Friday morning in Moscow---and I thank reader M.A. for his first contribution of the day.
Few people in the world are more qualified to speak about the Ukraine and Russia than Stephen F. Cohen, NYU and Princeton professor Emeritus.
This 39:45-minute audio interview was posted on the johnbatchelorshow.com Internet site on Tuesday---and for length and content reasons, had to wait for today's column. I thank Larry Galearis for bringing it to our attention. It's worth your while if you have the time---and interest.
Russia has signed a contract with Ukraine to deliver nuclear fuel for the country's nuclear energy plants in 2015, the head of Russian nuclear agency Rosatom said Friday.
"A contract for 2015 has been signed to deliver fuel for Ukraine's nuclear energy facilities," Sergei Kirienko said in a speech before a student assembly in Moscow.
The head of the Russian nuclear agency stressed that supplies of nuclear fuel to Ukraine had not been held up even once and shipments have been delivered to Ukraine as scheduled.
In September, Ukraine gave the green light to its nuclear power plants to receive supplies of upgraded nuclear fuel from the U.S. company Westinghouse, a move criticized by Rosatom as a political one.
Well, I sure hope the Russian company is getting paid up front for this, as I wouldn't want to extend a nickel's worth of credit to Ukraine right now. This article appeared on the sputniknews.com Web site at 2:24 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday afternoon, which was 6:24 a.m. EST. It's courtesy of reader M.A., for which I thank him.
These are bleak times. I've been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors - those who know but don't need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:
The propaganda attack against Putin equating him with Hitler is so extreme that you have to think that the Russians cannot believe their ears and cannot trust the United States anymore under any circumstances.
I cannot believe how we could have gotten ourselves into this situation to protect the looters in the Ukraine that Putin would have rid the Ukraine of, and even had the gall to place in a leadership role one of the worst of the thieves. But that is history. What is certain is that MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a deterrent today when both sides believe the other will use nuclear weapons once they have the advantage and that the side that gains a decisive advantage will use them. MAD is now over.
That may sound somewhat extreme - but it's a perfectly logical extension, further on down the road, of what the Russian president intimated in his already legendary interview with Germany's ARD in Vladivostok last week: the West is provoking Russia into a new Cold War.
This absolute must-read commentary by Pepe was posted on the Asia Times Web site yesterday sometime---and the first person through the door with this essay was reader M.A.
Serbia is not planning to impose sanctions on Russia, said its President Tomislav Nikolic after meeting E.U. Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The latter said the EU expects Serbia to bring its policy in line with the European one if it seeks to enter the union.
Nikolic said that Serbia is not planning to introduce sanctions at the moment, though admitting the country is seeking E.U. membership which implies an obligation to pursue common policies, including foreign.
"What I heard from Hahn is the same what you have heard from him: Serbia is not an E.U. member and it can be independent in pursuing its foreign policy; but E.U. membership would have implied a commitment to pursue a common foreign policy," the President said at a media conference after talks with Hahn, E.U. Commissioner for Enlargement and Good-Neighbourly Relations visiting Belgrade on Thursday.
This is a follow-up story to the one I posted about this subject in yesterday's column. It appeared on the Russia Today Web site at 7:40 p.m. Thursday evening Moscow time---and I thank reader M.A. for digging it up for us.
President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.
Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.
In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”
The decision to change that mission was the result of a lengthy and heated debate that laid bare the tension inside the Obama administration between two often-competing imperatives: the promise Mr. Obama made to end the war in Afghanistan, versus the demands of the Pentagon that American troops be able to successfully fulfill their remaining missions in the country.
Since this story appeared on the New York Times Web site, I'm not sure how much of this is real---and how much is made up---so if you decide to read it, do so with an open mind. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it to me late yesterday evening.
That was how the slow and careful rapprochement between Russia and China has been described by Eric Margolis, one of my favorite geopolitical writers.
US shenanigans in Eastern Europe and the East China Sea—fomenting so-called colored revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia (both on Russia’s periphery) and egging on China’s neighbors to make aggressive territorial claims—have pushed the Russian bear and Chinese dragon together. In May, the two uneasy neighbors reached a de facto alliance represented by a 20-year, $400 billion deal for Russia to supply China with natural gas.
A Russia/China alliance shifts the Earth’s geopolitical axis. Historians may look back at the energy deal as the moment the post-Cold War era and the US’s singular position came to an end. The Russia/China team is now a consequential economic and military counterweight to the US. It will operate as an attractant for every country and every faction that for any reason resents the US’s giant footprint in world affairs.
This short, but worthwhile commentary appeared on the International Man Web site the other day.
Moments ago, as traditionally is the case, the Chinese central bank caught the world by surprise and cut rates, notably the deposit rate by 25 bps and the lending rate by 40 while allowing banks to offer interest of 1.2 times the benchmark rate.
This happens as many analysts had been calling for more easing from China for months to help stabilize the faltering economy, but also happens a day after as Bloomberg reported, "Distressed Debt in China? Ain’t Seen Nothing, DAC Says." Basically well over a year after promising deleveraging reforms and a lower trend line growth rate, one which would not see incremental monetary stimulus, Xi Jinping threw in the towel and joined Japan and Europe in aggressively pursuing greener pastures.
It also means that, as expected, China is now clearly paying attention to Japan's unprecedented currency destruction and as Albert Edwards noted a few weeks ago, now that China has finally broken the seal, it is only a matter of time before China also devalues its currency outright.This Zero Hedge article from early Friday morning EST is definitely worth your while---and I thank reader M.A. for his final contribution to today's column.
Satellite images show China is building an island on a reef in the disputed Spratly Islands large enough to accommodate what could be its first offshore airstrip in the South China Sea, a leading defense publication said on Friday.
The construction has stoked concern that China may be converting disputed territory in the mineral-rich archipelago into military installations, adding to tensions waters also claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.
IHS Jane's said images it had obtained showed the Chinese-built island on the Fiery Cross Reef to be at least 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) long and 200-300 meters (660-980 ft) wide, which it noted is "large enough to construct a runway and apron."
The building work flies in the face of U.S. calls for a freeze in provocative activity in the South China Sea, one of Asia's biggest security issues. Concern is growing about an escalation in disputes even as claimants work to establish a code of conduct to resolve them.This Reuters article, filed from Washington, showed up on their Web site at 3:20 p.m. EST on Friday---and it's the final contribution of the day from Roy Stephens---and I thank him on your behalf.
In 133 B.C., Rome was a democracy. Little more than a hundred years later it was governed by an emperor. This imperial system has become, for us, a by-word for autocracy and the arbitrary exercise of power.
At the end of the second century B.C. the Roman people was sovereign. True, rich aristocrats dominated politics. In order to become one of the annually elected 'magistrates' (who in Rome were concerned with all aspects of government, not merely the law) a man had to be very rich.
Even the system of voting was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy. Yet ultimate power lay with the Roman people. Mass assemblies elected the magistrates, made the laws and took major state decisions. Rome prided itself on being a 'free republic' and centuries later was the political model for the founding fathers of the United States.
By 14 A.D., when the first emperor Augustus died, popular elections had all but disappeared. Power was located not in the old republican assembly place of the forum, but in the imperial palace. The assumption was that Augustus's heirs would inherit his rule over the Roman world - and so they did.
This was nothing short of a revolution, brought about through a century of constant civil strife, and sometimes open warfare. This ended when Augustus - 'Octavian' as he was then called - finally defeated his last remaining rivals Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 B.C. and established himself on the throne. Why did this revolution happen?
This very interesting history lesson from 2,000 years ago when laid over what's happening in the U.S., is pretty stark. It's posted on the bbc.co.uk Internet site---and I lifted it from yesterday's edition of the King Report. Another history lesson for the same period is also one that I also borrowed from yesterday's King Report and it's linked here. In some respects, it's a better story than the one I've posted above.
Complex deals employed by Goldman Sachs' metals storage unit to build vast stockpiles and then maintain queues test the spirit of the London Metal Exchange operating code, shocking many traders and confirming others' suspicions.
But the intricate transactions that saw Metro International Trade Services shell out millions of dollars to customers to join exit queues to bolster rental income was within the rules, according to two senior warehousing executives and two veteran traders.
An explosive U.S. Senate report released on Wednesday revealed the "imaginative" methods used to lure millions of tons of aluminum into Detroit, Metro's headquarters, and then keep it there over the past four years.
You know that if either G.S. or JPM is involved, it's "immoral, but not illegal"---and in some cases its both. The disturbing must-read article appeared on the Reuters Web site at 4:23 a.m. EST on Friday morning---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site.
The Federal Reserve may curtail Wall Street commodity businesses after lawmakers said banks' role in energy, power, and metals markets spurred unfair trading advantages and could threaten financial stability.
At a Senate hearing today, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said curbs under consideration include ownership limits, restricting how much revenue can be derived from commodities, and requiring Wall Street firms to boost capital. He said the new rules, to be proposed early next year, could restrict banks from investing in oil tankers, coal mines, and other businesses involved in physical commodities.
"We are focusing on the risk to safety and soundness presented by specific activities and on whether those risks can be appropriately and adequately mitigated," Tarullo said at the hearing held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
This Bloomberg news item, filed from Washington, was posted on their Web site at 10:40 a.m. Denver time yesterday morning---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.
Eric talks about the Surge in Asian Investment Gold Demand, the Positive Movement in Physical Gold Demand Around the World, and the Possible Impact of the Swiss Referendum on the Physical Gold Market.
This 9:32-minute audio interview conducted by Jeff Rutherford was posted on the sprottmoney.com Internet site on Friday.
A decade ago, when Alan Greenspan was chairman of the mighty Federal Reserve, he was infamous for delivering ambiguous, Delphic speeches that nobody could understand. No longer. I recently had a chance to interview Greenspan, 88, at the Council on Foreign Relations, regarding an updated version of his latest book.
These days the retired Greenspan speaks so clearly that some of his words are still ricocheting around the blogosphere. For what he revealed on the CFR platform was that he harbours considerable doubts about whether recent Western monetary policy experiments have actually helped economic growth. He also fears that such experiments have been so wild that it will be very hard to exit from these policies in the future -- in the U.S. or anywhere else -- without sparking huge market volatility.
Indeed, Greenspan is so worried about future turbulence that he apparently sympathises with investors (and central banks) who are stocking up on gold.
Unfortunately, unless you're plugged into the Financial Times website, which is free if you only read a couple of articles a month, the balance of this story is subscriber protected. There's nothing new in here, of course, as what Greenspan said at the Council on Foreign Relations is already well known---and I certainly covered it in this column. What is interesting is that Gillian Tett, who is as Establishment as you can get, wrote this in the Financial Times of London on Friday. So, from that perspective, it's a big deal---and wouldn't have shown up there without the approval of the senior editor. This is another gold-related news item that I found at the gata.org Web site yesterday---and the actual FT headline reads "Gold: Worth Its Weight?"
GoldCore analyst and GATA consultant Ronan Manly provides a detailed analysis of the opinion polls that seem to be moving against the Swiss Gold Initiative, and he raises a compelling question: While the Swiss National Bank complains that the initiative would severely limit its monetary policy options, the initiative gives the bank five years for compliance, so just how long does the bank intend to chain the Swiss franc to a depreciating euro?
Manly's commentary is headlined "Swiss Gold Vote Likely Tighter than Polls Suggest"---and it's posted at the goldcore.com Internet site. It's on the longish side, dear reader, but definitely worth reading if you have the time---and/or the interest. I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing "all of the above."
Paul Wilson recently took up the role of Chief Executive Officer at the newly created World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC). The Council was launched by a group of six platinum producers in South Africa, in order to further develop the global market for platinum investment.
Readers may know that our affiliate Sprott Asset Management LP manages one of the largest above-ground stockpiles of platinum in the world, in the form of the Sprott Platinum and Palladium Trust (NYSE: SPPP).
What will the World Platinum Investment Council do? Their CEO Paul Wilson was kind enough to call me up and tell me what it’s all about.
This very interesting 'interview' appeared on the sprottglobal.com Internet site yesterday---and it was 'conducted' by Henry Bonner. Of course the obvious reason that platinum prices are not rising is because its price is being managed like the other three precious metals. I read this commentary---and that crucial fact is nowhere to be found. Either the question was never asked, or the information wasn't volunteered. How typical.
In a move which will it hopes will in some way help resolve India’s 'insatiable appetite’ for gold and the attendant problems with the high current account deficit (CAD), MMTC-PAMP, a 27:73 per cent joint venture between India’s largest bullion importer MMTC and Swiss PAMP SA, is ready with its gold metal account scheme to mobilize gold from small consumers who account for a bulk of gold demand.
The minimum deposit will be around 50 grams of gold and that will address more than 90 per cent of gold consumers in India, Rajesh Khosla, managing director, MMTC-PAMP India told this correspondent.
The scheme would help small retail gold consumers, deposit their gold, melt it and earn interest on it and accrue gold instead of rupees in the account at the time of maturity. On the implementation of the scheme, Mr. Khosla said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would submit its views in early December after which the government would take a call on the scheme.
Well, 'scheme' is the operative word in this story---as Manitoba reader U.M. carefully pointed out when she sent me this article yesterday. Filed from Mumbai, it was posted on thehindu.com Internet site at 7:53 p.m. IST on their Friday evening.
The Reserve Bank of India, grappling with a surge in gold imports last month, could support some restrictions for trading houses but two senior policymakers involved in the bank's decision-making said officials were also wary of overreacting.
A senior finance ministry source told Reuters on Tuesday the country would soon announce measures set to center on import restrictions for private trading house that were eased earlier this year. Private jewellery exporters account for the bulk of demand for gold.But the country has yet to announce any steps, and the two policymakers said on Friday there was no agreement yet. "No decision has yet been taken on curbing gold imports," said one of the policy makers, who declined to be named.
This Reuters article, also filed from Mumbai, showed up on their Web site at 7:51 p.m. IST on their Friday evening---and it's another gold-related story I found on the gata.org Internet site.